Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


The Ongoing Debate: 526 or I-26?

See what our Magnet students have to say about the trek to school.

We’ve all participated at one point in the never-ending conversation debating which interstate is a little less terrible– I-26 or 526? When I was a sophomore and just started driving to school, my friends and I would laugh any time the question was brought up in conversation because it seems like such a simple, yet controversial question. I never understood the hype around the interstates and honestly, I would get annoyed with how many people used the question as a conversation starter. “Well obviously 526 is better, so it’s a stupid question”, one of my friends said. I was taken aback. This question is perhaps not so stupid after all because there is no changing a Magnet kid’s mind about which interstate is better. I can see both perspectives; however, I am an I-26 follower. Let’s see what other students have to say.


526 Connoisseurs:

  • “I prefer 526 because it is not terrifyingly up in the air and it doesn’t have terrifying twists and turns; instead, it is just a nice rolling journey with beautiful water views.” -Burton McCulley

I could not disagree with this statement more, Burton. 526 is terrible BECAUSE it is so high in the air. I have never seen a warning sign for strong winds on I-26 like I have seen on 526. I can barely even look over the edge of the Wando River Bridge without shaking in my boots and you’re saying it’s a “nice rolling journey”? Please.

  • “526 is better because it is way more reliable even though it might be slower some days. Like I-26 can sometimes be faster but like also could be way slower depending on the traffic on Maybank highway or River road.” -Hank Baer

This is sometimes true, but every interstate has its bad days. I, personally, have never experienced a severe traffic jam on I-26 (knock on wood), but I have had countless 2-3 hour drives home from school on 526. Also when there is a traffic jam leaving you sitting at the top of the Don Holt, it is very scary.

  • “526 is way better because there aren’t any twists and turns. I drive a Jeep and the curves on I-26 are hard to handle.” -Charlie Zaifert

Good point, but I think the curves on I-26 make my drive more entertaining. It’s like MarioKart.


I-26 Fans:

  • “I don’t know which is which, but the one that goes downtown.” -Evie Walldorf

I am a little concerned considering that I constantly need to check the signs to make sure I am going the right direction, but ending up downtown is all that really matters in the end, I guess. Happy shopping, Evie! When asked why, Evie explains that she prefers I-26 because “it is faster and it passes by the Starbucks on Coleman.” I-26 really checks all the priorities off the list.


  • “I prefer I-26 because whenever I drive, it’s always the opposite of traffic. Plus, there is always some flashing light from police or ambulance, so it’s entertaining.” -Alexa Conlon

Although I do feel for the other people in standstill traffic, the feeling of flying by just on the other side of the interstate is so satisfying. However, I do see the ambulance and police lights as a con for I-26. It is a little concerning and definitely distracting for everyone on the road, but interesting take, Alexa.

  • “I-26 is better because there is so much less traffic and people actually know how to drive. I can get up to about 50 mph unlike 526 at 3;30 pm. I-26 is overall just less stressful because there is a fewer amount of idiots driving on it.” -Kinsey McDaniel

I sense a bit of road rage, but same, girl. I am going to have to disagree slightly, though, because I feel like the drivers on I-26 are not the most skilled; there are just more lanes for them to take up. One time on my way home from school, there was a man that decided to move at 40 mph in the far left lane on I-26. I mean, come on. The people on 526, however, never seem like they DECIDE to move at 40 mph, everyone is just forced to move that slow because there are only two lanes.

  • “I prefer I-26 because it has three lanes and there is usually less traffic both ways. My house is equidistant and takes the same amount of time either way, but I still like I-26 better.” -Lukey Sutherland

This contradicts what Alexa stated about I-26, but everyday is a different type of traffic day. The three lanes instead of two seems to be the major factor in this debate. Also, the fact that Lukey could take either interstate, but chooses I-26 really says a lot.

  • “I prefer I-26 because there is no traffic and there are three lanes for speeding.” -Chase Novak

Concerned AGAIN. I feel like this could be a negative for I-26 because people are able to drive much faster which can be more dangerous, but it always seems like there are more accidents on 526. Move out the way for Chase, I guess.

  • “I-26 is so much better than 526 because there is less traffic and there are so many semi-trucks on 526. It is actually terrible.”

I agree, but I like to think of semi-trucks as the whale sharks of the road. They are gentle giants, but you might accidentally get sucked into their mouths if you are not aware of your surroundings. The smart cars are like little minnows, regular cars are like small fish, and cop cars are like lurking sharks. Maybe a limo could be like an eel. Either way, this analogy helps when I end up stuck between two semi-trucks at the top of the bridge.

  • “I prefer I-26 because because there is never any traffic whenever I am driving on it. If there’s traffic on I-26, you can normally find a back way, but you are stuck when driving on 526.” -Ava Smoak

You especially can not find a way out of the traffic when stuck at the top of the Wando River bridge or Don Holt bridge. Good point.


According to this article, it seems the ongoing debate is pretty much settled. I-26 is the winner because it has less traffic and one more lane than 526. Comment your winning interstate in the comments section!



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